Legendary investor Warren Buffett loves investing in companies with pricing power. Pricing power means a company can raise prices without losing customers in the process. And that's something that streaming-video company Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has demonstrated over the last five years.
In this clip from Motley Fool Live, recorded on July 15, Fool contributor Danny Vena talks with fellow contributor Brian Withers about Netflix's pricing power, which might be an important thing for investors to look for right now given current concerns regarding inflation.
Brian Withers: We are going to jump right into it with hot takes. The first one, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said inflation has increased notably and would remain elevated in the coming months. His quote from the interview was, "Inflation has been higher than we expected, a little more persistent than we had expected and hoped." This was testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. He said that "pandemic-related bottlenecks and other supply constraints just created the perfect storm of high demand and low supply that's led to price increases for certain goods and services." How long is this going to be around? Mr. Powell said he expects these effects should partially reverse as the effects of the bottlenecks unwind.
We talked a little bit about supply chain issues from Asia and other things going on. But today, we are going to take a different take on it. Companies that are able to raise prices are very robust and resilient and one of the things that Warren Buffett likes to invest in. What's a favorite company of yours that has pricing power?
Danny, why don't you go first.
Danny Vena: It would be disingenuous of me to talk about Netflix and not talk about the fact that the company has raised prices four out of the past five, or five out of the past six years. Now, these have not been huge price increases. They've been essentially about a dollar for each tier, in some cases $2 for the higher tiers. While people complained on social media and said, "I'm bailing on Netflix and I'm getting tired of the price increases," so far, the company has continued its growth. I think there's a little bit of that -- consumers will sometimes say something that they're not actually going to do when it comes to price increases.
I think the fact that Netflix as an investment, the company turned the corner last year, the number of subscribers that they have has pushed them to the point where they are cash flow positive. They are still continuing to invest heavily, not only in TV series, which had been their bread and butter for a number of years, but also releasing a new movie every week this year. So there's plenty of content. Even recently, I saw an article that said that Disney+ [from The Walt Disney Company] U.S. growth might be slowing. That's only after, what, a year and a half? [laughs]
I think Netflix has proved that it has pricing power, and I think that the stories that you have heard about the ultimate demise of Netflix stock has been greatly exaggerated. I think we're going to see a stock that still has years of growth left in international markets. But then also, one of the things that I'm going to talk about later could actually be the next growth engine. So I wouldn't discount Netflix just yet.